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BTS Releases November Passenger Airline Employment Data

November 2012 Employment Down 2.0 Percent From November 2011

U.S. scheduled passenger airlines employed 381,639 workers in November 2012, 2.0 percent fewer than in November 2011, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today. Scheduled passenger airline categories include network, low-cost, regional and other airlines. This was the third consecutive month that full-time equivalent (FTE) employment for U.S. scheduled passenger carriers has been lower than the same month of the previous year. This follows 22 months of year-to-year increases that began in November 2010.

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the November 2012 FTE total for scheduled passenger carriers was 7,722 fewer than in November 2011 and is the lowest monthly total since January 2011. There were 0.7 percent fewer FTEs in November 2012 than in October 2012. Month-to-month changes can be affected by seasonal factors, such as the number of flights and passengers. The five network airlines that collectively employ two-thirds of the scheduled passenger airline FTEs reported 2.4 percent fewer FTEs in November 2012, the fourth consecutive decline for the group.

Delta Air Lines, eliminating positions following its merger with Northwest Airlines, reduced FTEs by 3.6 percent from November 2011. American Airlines, which filed for bankruptcy in November 2011, reduced FTEs by 7.4 percent. United Airlines reported a post-merger total of 82,381 FTEs in November 2012, 1,384 or 1.7 percent more FTEs than the 80,997 United and Continental Airlines reported separately in November 2011. Network airlines operate a significant portion of flights using at least one hub where connections are made for flights to down-line destinations or spoke cities.

Among the six low-cost carriers, Allegiant Airlines, Virgin America Airlines, Spirit Airlines and JetBlue Airways reported an increase in FTEs. Frontier Airlines was the only low-cost carrier reporting fewer FTEs. Southwest Airlines reported 45,953 FTEs in November 2012 in a joint report following its merger with AirTran Airways. The combined total was 348 or 0.8 percent more than the 45,605 FTEs the two airlines reported separately in November 2011. Low-cost airlines operate under a low-cost business model, with infrastructure and aircraft operating costs below the overall industry average.

FMI: www.dot.gov

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